While most alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs are founded on tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), there are a number of supplementary and alternative treatments individuals can use to customize and personalize their addiction treatment curricula to make recovery as effective as possible. In addition to this customization, there are a number of treatment programs that are intended for certain groups of individuals or for particular demographics. This can take the form of addiction treatment programs for women, programs for adolescents and teens, programs for individuals of a specific religious belief or denomination, and even for members of the LGBT community who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction.
The purpose of programs intended for specific groups or demographics is to tailor treatment and curricula for the specific needs of those individuals. For adolescents and teens, this may take the form of addiction treatment that includes teaching them how to be independent adults and perhaps to help them identify prospective careers or even educational opportunities if they’re inclined to attend college. Each demographic subgroup of the population will have its own specific needs in addition to treatment for substance abuse and chemical dependency.
For self-identifying members of the LGBT community, programs intended specifically for these individuals will cater to some of the common issues these individuals typically encounter, which oftentimes cause or contribute to addiction. In order to understand why members of the LGBT community would experience the most success in recovery by attending an LGBT-specific addiction treatment program, it’s important to understand the atmosphere of minority groups—especially sexual minorities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals—today and why these individuals are more susceptible to substance abuse.
Addiction in the LGBT Community
Although there has been a marked improvement in society’s attitudes toward members of the LGBT, individuals who are considered sexual minorities still experience higher rates of discrimination relative or the general population. Like many minority groups, members of the LGBT community experience many of the hardships that come with facing discrimination, which includes things like harassment, maltreatment, victimization, and violence. Studies have termed the stress that results from discrimination minority stress, which is experienced not only by members of the LGBT community but also by other socioeconomic and demographic subgroups as well. What’s more, many LGBT individuals who are raised in households that ascribe to certain denominations are taught that it’s wrong or unnatural to have same-sex inclinations, resulting in feelings of shame and self-hatred that are often carried throughout one’s life.
Studies have identified homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered individuals as being especially susceptible to substance abuse, which is reflected by elevated rates of addiction treatment among members of the LGBT community. According to studies, lifelong experiences of victimization and harassment due to homophobia and intolerance in the community have resulted in as much as 20 to 30 percent of the LGBT community suffering from chemical dependency compared to just 9 percent of the population as a whole. Perhaps even more alarming is the estimate that as many as half of all gay men will suffer from an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs at some point in their lives. Even LGBT youths have shown higher instances of substance abuse and addiction with teenage sexual minorities being 200 percent more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than heterosexual teens. These alarming statistics have led to the increasing availability of addiction treatment programs that are intended specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals.
The Benefits of LGBT-Focused Addiction Treatment Programs
It’s been suggested that many members of the LGBT community who suffer from substance abuse disorders and addiction developed this disease at least partly due to the experience of being the object of malicious discrimination over the course of their lives. When addicts enter a recovery program, one of the goals of treatment is to identify the root of one’s addiction, which means reflecting on an individual’s background and previous experiences as a way to find where his or her struggle with dependency began. For some individuals, it might have been the experience of having a parent who was addicted to alcohol or drugs; however, for LGBT individuals, it’s often their experiences of dealing with judgement, criticism, and minority stress over the course of their lives due to their sexual preferences, often beginning at an incredibly young age and continuing throughout adulthood.
One of the main focuses of an addiction treatment program intended specifically for LGBT individuals is in offering a judgement-free environment that’s safe and offers support and encouragement. The need for LGBT-specific addiction treatment arose from the realization that many members of the LGBT community experiencing addiction were unlikely to seek treatment for fear of experiencing discrimination from counselors and addiction recovery specialists, which resulted in the appearance of programs that catered to LGTB individuals specifically. Facilities that offer LGBT-specific programs tend to employ addiction counselors that have received sensitivity and diversity training and are especially knowledgeable of the needs common of members of the LGBT community; these counselors are aware that it’s not the individual’s sexual preference that caused their addiction, but rather experiencing of lifelong persecution as a result of inherent, uncontrollable characteristics that have made these individuals the target of animosities.
What’s more, over the course of addiction treatment many programs intended for members of the LGBT community allow individuals to explore the discrimination and prejudices experienced throughout their lives while also honoring and fortifying their integrity and self-worth. It’s common for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals to feel they have no support or encouragement from family, friends, and other loved ones; as such, it’s important for LGBT-specific programs to offer support and encouragement for these individuals, helping them to learn how to establish a support network after treatment.
Recover from Alcohol and Drug Addiction Today
If you or someone you love needs LGBT-specific addiction treatment or a program that accommodates other particular needs, call Recover Hub 888-220-4352. Our recovery specialists have helped numerous individuals find the addiction treatment programs they needed to achieve lasting sobriety. Let us do the same for you today.